# How to Consistently Win at Blackjack

By Wilbur Thompson.

Blackjack, also known as Twenty-One, is a simple yet exciting casino game. The goal is to have your hand total closer to 21 than the dealer’s without exceeding it. If your hand goes over 21, you lose – this is called ‘busting’. In this section, we’ll dissect the rules and fundamental principles to provide you with a firm foundation.

## Mastering Basic Strategy

The basic strategy in blackjack serves as a mathematical guide that offers the best decision – hit, stand, double down, or split – in every possible scenario. This strategy is typically represented in a color-coded chart, which can initially seem overwhelming but with practice, you’ll start recognizing the patterns. For example, it’s always advisable to stand when your hand is 17 or higher, as the chance of busting increases dramatically. Similarly, if the dealer’s face-up card is 6 or below, and you hold between 12-16, it’s generally best to stand. The dealer must draw to 16 and stand on 17, increasing their chances of busting.1)Essentially, a player who plays using a perfect basic strategy will usually be able to reduce the house edge to under 1%.  See the blackjack rule variations and odds section on this site for more information.

## Learning Card Counting

Card counting is an advanced strategy, albeit one that’s frowned upon by casinos. The idea behind card counting is to keep track of all cards that have been dealt to anticipate the likelihood of receiving a high-value card in the future. One popular system is the Hi-Lo strategy. In this system, every card is assigned a value: cards 2-6 are valued +1, 7-9 are 0, and 10-Ace are -1. As cards are dealt, you keep a running count. A positive count means that there are more high-value cards left, which can inform your betting strategy. It’s important to remember, though, that card counting requires practice to master and isn’t foolproof.

## Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is crucial when playing blackjack. The first step is to decide on a total bankroll, which is the amount of money you’re willing to risk. From this, you derive your betting unit – usually 1-2% of your total bankroll. This ensures that you have enough money to keep playing even after a losing streak. Knowing when to walk away is also vital. If you hit a predetermined loss limit, it’s time to step away from the table. On the flip side, if you’re on a winning streak, consider setting aside part of your winnings to prevent losing everything.

## Emotional Control and Discipline

Staying disciplined at the blackjack table involves sticking to your basic strategy and bankroll management, regardless of the short-term outcome. Emotions can cloud your judgment and lead to impulsive decisions. If you’re having a losing streak, it’s better to walk away and play another day rather than letting frustration lead you to chase losses. Similarly, if you’re on a winning streak, don’t let excitement push you to bet more than you can afford to lose.